Research 299: Assessment of Agricultural Activity on Drained Organic Soils

Authors: Jennifer B. Donlan, Jean O’Dwyer and Kenneth A. Byrne

Summary: Peatlands play a vital role in the carbon cycle in terms of carbon storage and biosphere–atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases. Drainage and conversion to agriculture dramatically alters these processes and transforms the ecosystem from a carbon sink to a carbon source. A key prerequisite for assessing the magnitude of such emissions is to estimate the area of peatland under agricultural use, in this case cultivation.

Published: 2019

ISBN: 978-1-84095-872-0

Pages: 30

Filesize: 1,190KB

Format: pdf

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Identifying Pressures

This project provides the first estimate of the area of peatland under cultivation for agriculture in Ireland. Based on this estimate, the annual emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide from these soils are estimated.

Informing Policy

Research findings have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences. The principal topic addressed was the area of peatlands under cultivation for agriculture in Ireland.

Developing Solutions

By providing an estimate of the area of peatlands under cultivation for agriculture in Ireland, this project addresses an important information gap regarding land use on peatlands. This will enable the contribution of peatlands under cultivation to greenhouse gas emissions in the land use sector to be estimated. This information will inform policy regarding the future land use of peatlands.